SRIMAD BHAGAVAD GITA – PART 10 Chapter 2, Verses 61 to 72 – SANKHYA YOGA

Bhagavan Krishna explains the attributes of a wise man i.e. who is a ‘Sthitha-prajna’.  In these twelve verses, Bhagavan explains how a ‘sthitha-prajna’ acts, talks or engages in various activities, thus providing a user guide for spiritual advancement.

With these twelve verses, Bhagavan concludes Chapter 2 on Sakhya Yoga. A brief summary of the key messages from Chapter 2 is given below:

Summary of Chapter 2 – Sankhya Yoga

Lord Krishna explains that the state of consciousness is achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and is equipoised based on the knowledge of the eternal nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of transcendent meditation. It is ‘Brahmi’ or that which leads to Brahman, the ultimate truth.

Thus, the following doctrine is to be understood from Chapter 2:

  • That the immortal soul is eternal (‘na hanyate hanya mane sharire’ – 2.20)
  • All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for reward (2.47)
  • There should be no proprietorship or doer-ship (2.47)
  • Engage in devotional service – (yogah karmasu kausalam – 2.50)
  • One should control their mind which will result in control of the senses (2.58);
  • One should perform actions without attachment or aversion (2.64)
  • One should be equipoised (2.68)
  • Constantly contemplate and engage in meditating on the Lord (2.70)
  • One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga, the goal of transcendent meditation can be attained but devotion to the Supreme is essential for realisation of the Supreme. (2.71)

Liberation from the material existence and realisation of eternal bliss (sat chit Ananda) can be achieved through the above process. In essence this results in relinquishment of both the physical body and the subtle body, after which one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

  • The primary way of attaining God realisation is certainly pure devotion unto God, whereas self-realisation or soul-cognition, although extremely exalted, is secondary. Devotion to GOD is primary ‘means’ (Upaya) as well as the ‘goal’ (Upeya) to be attained.
  • Through the process of intense devotion one becomes relieved from all unhappiness and free from attachment. Over time they gain spiritual intelligence and become completely equipoised in transcendent meditation attaining the bliss of the Supreme.

These spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.

2.61     Shloka 2.61

तानि सर्वाणि संयम्य युक्त आसीत मत्परः।
वशे हि यस्येन्द्रियाणि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.61।।

Tani sarvani samyamya yukta asita mat-parah      |
Vase hi yasyendriyani tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.61||
Meaning: One who restrains his senses and fixes his consciousness upon Me is known as a man of steady intelligence.

In the previous few verses, Bhagavan Shri Krishna had stated that the senses are too powerful to subdue by our own efforts. Yet effort should be made regardless and so, in this verse, he suggests that we subdue our senses by engaging in total devotion to Him. The word ‘yuktah’ and mat-parah’

The words ‘yukta asita mat-parah’ is most significant in this verse.  It means one who is self-controlled, established and meditating on Me. It indicates that devotion to Lord Krishna, with one’s mind firmly established and attuned to Him is the only way to control the senses and maintain it. As Hrishikesha, He is the Lord of the senses, and is the ultimate object of all meditation.

In the Vishnu Purana, it begins with ‘yatha adniruddhata-sikhah’ and explains that just as a blazing fire fanned by blowing wind burns up dry wood, in the same way when Bhagavan Krishna is established in the heart, all sins are burnt. Spiritual intelligence is confirmed in those whose senses are under control. When our minds evolve to realise that Bhagavan Vishnu is the Supreme Absolute Reality, all impurities are eradicated and the mind is purified and clear, free from all desires.

Maharaja Ambarisha’s life is good example on how one can become ‘mat-parah’:
“mad-bhakti-prabhavena sarvendriya-vijaya-purvika svatma drstih sulabheti bhavah”
Meaning: The senses can be completely controlled only by the strength of devotional service to Bhagavan.

Srimad-Bhagavatam (9.4.18 – 20) describes how Maharaja Ambarisha was able to control his senses:

Sa vai manah Krishna-padaravindayor vacamsi vaikuntha-gunanavarnane  |
Karau harer mandira-marjanadisu srutim cakaracyuta-sat-kathodaye     ||9.4.18||
Meaning: King Ambarisha was always engaged and his mind was focussed meditating upon the Lotus feet of Kṛiṣhṇa, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord’s temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Kṛiṣhṇa or singing glories of Kṛiṣhṇa.

Mukunda-lingalaya-darsane drsau tad-bhrtya-gatra-sparse’nga-sangamam   |
Ghranam ca tat-pada-saroja-saurabhe srimat-tulasya rasanam tad-arpite ||9.4.19||
Meaning: He engaged his eyes only to see the Deity or the divine temples of Mukunda in places like Mathura and Vṛindavan. He engaged his sense of touch by serving the Lord’s devotees, he engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasi offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the Lord’s prasada (offering).

padau hareh ksetra-padanusarpane siro hrsikesa-padabhivandane  |
kamam ca dasye na tu kama-kamyaya yathottamasloka-janasraya ratih ||9.4.20||
Meaning:  He engaged his legs to walk to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord, and all his desires in serving the Lord, all the time. Indeed, Maharaja Ambarisha never desired anything for his own sense gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.

All these attributes made him fit to become a ‘mat-parah’ devotee of the Lord and the Lord protects such devotees. When Sage Durvasa wanted to punish Ambarisha, it was Lord’s Sudharsana Chakra that came to protect him and made Sage Durvasa seek pardon from Kind Ambarisha and made the Sage realise his misplaced arrogance towards the Lord’s devotee.

 

Because the uncontrolled senses are the cause of all disturbance, one with spiritual intelligence seeking transcendence should make it their priority to control their senses. Having duly controlled the senses, one should firmly establish their mind by meditating on Bhagavan for maintaining this control. This will lead to the mind slowly becoming free from all desires. The mind, along with the senses completely under control, is then capable of self-realisation and ready for union with the Ultimate Consciousness.

2.62     Shloka 2.62

ध्यायतो विषयान्पुंसः सङ्गस्तेषूपजायते।
सङ्गात् संजायते कामः कामात्क्रोधोऽभिजायते।।2.62।।

Dhyayato visayan pumsah sangas tesupajayate            |
Sangat sanjayate kamah kamat krodho ‘bhijayate ||2.62||
Meaning: While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

Bhagavan Krishna states that one who contemplates sensual objects like form and touch develops in the mind an attachment towards them.  This manifests in the form of lust and deludes one into believing such objects to be the root cause of happiness. From this attachment springs desire and when one is able to gratify by enjoying these sense objects, it leads to attachment to these desires ultimately enslaving the person.  When controlled by these desires any obstruction in sating these desires leads to frustration and anger. 

2.63     Shloka 2.63

क्रोधाद्भवति संमोहः संमोहात्स्मृतिविभ्रमः।
स्मृतिभ्रंशाद् बुद्धिनाशो बुद्धिनाशात्प्रणश्यति।।2.63।।

Krodhad bhavati sammohah sammohat smrti-vibhramah     |
Smriti-bhramsad buddhi-naso buddhi-nasat pranasyati    ||2.63||
Meaning: From anger, delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost, one perishes.

The word ‘Sammoha’ denotes an illusionary perception of knowledge. Even if the knowledge is right, one will be deluded and recall it incorrectly. Due to wrong perception, the judgement will be compromised and the actions that follow are terrible.

The debilitating effect created by a magnetic attraction to desires for sense objects becomes more and more extreme. From this extreme desire springs lust when this lust is denied it leads to Krodha or anger.  Krodha is the frustrated outrage one feels against that which stands in the way of obtaining the gratification of ones senses.

Bhagavan Krishna explains that anger emerges from delusion which is the lack of discrimination on what righteous actions are to be performed and what actions are to be avoided. From this delusion comes confusion which is the bewilderment of intelligence and forgetfulness of the scriptures that contains knowledge of Dharma. This confusion leads to misinterpretation of scriptures and lack of discriminative intellect in determining the true nature of reality. From such illusory knowledge one is completely ruined and loses focus on the goal of material existence and the core purpose of human life which is to engage in the service of the Lord by serving his devotees. Thus, it must be understood that controlling one’s mind and senses is the most important first step to self-realisation.

2.64     Shloka 2.64

रागद्वेषवियुक्तैस्तु विषयानिन्द्रियैश्चरन्।
आत्मवश्यैर्विधेयात्मा प्रसादमधिगच्छति।।2.64।।

Raga-Dvesa-vimuktais tu visayan indriyais caran |
Atma-vasyair vidheyatma prasadam adhigacchati ||2.64||
Meaning: But one who controls his senses by practicing the regulated principles and is completely free from attachment and aversion, attains the mercy of the Lord.

Bhagavan Krishna reveals how if one is able to bring their mind under firm control, then senses also come under firm control which will help them to succeed in their pursuit of self-realisation.  And such persons are bestowed with the ultimate coveted ‘prasadam’, i.e. they attain the mercy of the Supreme Lord.

This answers the last question – How does a person who is ‘sthitha-prajna’ walk or act? The self- controlled aspirant who has his mind firmly under control while experiencing various sense objects through disciplined approach which are free from attachment or aversion, achieves placidity and tranquillity of mind. This way the mind becomes purified.

Rejecting all desires for sensual objects with a mind firmly under control, one achieves lucidity of mind along with inner purity and blissful state.

2.65     Shloka 2.65

प्रसादे सर्वदुःखानां हानिरस्योपजायते।
प्रसन्नचेतसो ह्याशु बुद्धिः पर्यवतिष्ठते।।2.65।।

Prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate  |
Prasanna-cetaso hy asu buddhih paryavatisthate ||2.65||
Meaning: When one attains the precious mercy of the Ultimate personality, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state, one’s spiritual intelligence soon becomes steady.

Bhagavan Krishna now explains that when the mind is placid and pure it has achieved for itself the cessation of all miseries arising from materialism. ‘Prasanna-chetah’ refers to that delightful one whose mind is removed of all impediments that hinders it from realising the eternal soul while bestowing the spiritual intelligence needed for illumination. Thus when the mind has been purified all sorrows are terminated.

One may wonder how sorrows are destroyed on attaining the state of satisfaction. Bhagavan Krishna explains that by achieving tranquillity of mind the intellect becomes established in connecting to the ultimate reality. ‘Prasade’ indicates that by the mercy of the Supreme Lord one neutralises the tendency to gravitate towards experiencing objects of the senses.

By achieving a state of mental placidity all ones physical as well as other sorrows of the aspirant come to an end. The fruition of sorrow and pain is inevitable for one attached to sensual objects. But in the case of one who has purified their mind the sorrows and pains are easily neutralised. By the word ‘hi’ meaning certainly, Bhagavan Krishna is emphasising that such a person becomes firmly established in transcendent consciousness.

2.66     Shloka 2.66

नास्ति बुद्धिरयुक्तस्य चायुक्तस्य भावना।
चाभावयतः शान्तिरशान्तस्य कुतः सुखम्।।2.66।।

Nasti buddhir ayuktasya na cayuktasya bhavana         |
Na cabhavayatah santir asantasya kutah sukham ||2.66||
Meaning: One with an uncontrolled mind cannot gain spiritual intelligence; one devoid of spiritual intelligence does not meditate on the Ultimate Reality and for one who never meditates on the Supreme, there is no peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace?

In order to strengthen the points made in the previous verse, Bhagavan Krishna cites all the contrary results that can accrue when one is unable to control the mind. One who is unable to concentrate and focus their mind in meditation on Lord Krishna is known as ayukta, one devoid of spiritual intelligence. One who has not subdued their senses by controlling their mind is bereft of resolve. The intellect of one with spiritual intelligence determines the truth as set out in various scriptures. It is not possible for an undisciplined living entity to have belief of the calibre necessary to contemplate on matters relating to the ultimate truth.

Without having an understanding or devotion of the God, there can be no peace.  And attachment for sensual objects remains. In such a state there can be no happiness.  Thus without being able to comprehend and contemplate on the nature of the eternal soul there can be no tranquility.

2.67     Shloka 2.67

इन्द्रियाणां हि चरतां यन्मनोऽनुविधीयते।
तदस्य हरति प्रज्ञां वायुर्नावमिवाम्भसि।।2.67।।

Indriyanam hi caratam yan mano ‘nuvidhiyate           |
Tad asya harati prajnam vayur navam ivambhasi ||2.67||
Meaning: Whichever among the various senses the wandering mind is engrossed with, that sense certainly leads his intelligence astray just like the wind snatches away a boat on the water.

Unless all of the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them engaged in sense gratification can deviate the devotee from the path of transcendental advancement. As mentioned in the life of Maharaja Ambarisha, all of the senses must be engaged on the Lord, for that is the correct technique for controlling the mind.

In this verse Lord Krishna compares the uncontrolled mind that is servile to the senses gives to that of a boat on water being swept away by strong winds. One may ask the question that don’t the senses perform the activities energised by the Supreme Lord? This is only partly true because wisdom is an essential ingredient of meditation and when one is pursuing the senses then wisdom is lost and one is out of control like a boat in a storm causing the senses to lose their essential purpose.

Lord Krishna declares that one who is unable to control their mind and senses cannot be in possession of a discriminative intellect. This is because any one of the rambling senses which the mind attaches itself to in pursuit of sense objects has the power to deviate one away from their pursuit of gaining spiritual intelligence.

2.68     Shloka 2.68

तस्माद्यस्य महाबाहो निगृहीतानि सर्वशः।
इन्द्रियाणीन्द्रियार्थेभ्यस्तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता।।2.68।।

Tasmad yasya maha-baho nigrhitani sarvasah              |
Indriyanindriyarthebhyas tasya prajna pratisthita ||2.68||
Meaning: Therefore, O mighty-armed, one whose senses are restrained from their objects is certainly of steady intelligence.

Lord Krishna is declaring that only by control of the senses in all respects can wisdom be achieved. Therefore, whosoever achieves communion with Him, the most exalted reality for meditation, will surely in every way have their senses under control and completely oblivious to the objects of the senses. Thus, so qualified they gain wisdom and become fit to attain the eternal Soul.

2.69     Shloka 2.69

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी।
यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुनेः।।2.69।।

Ya nisha sarva-bhutanam tasyam jagarti samyami     |
Yasyam jagrati bhutani sa nisha pasyato muneh  ||2.69||
Meaning: What is night for all beings is the time when the self-controlled is wakeful; and the time in which all living beings are awake, it is night for the introspective Sage.

There are two classes of intelligent men. The one is intelligent in material activities for sense gratification, and the other is introspective and awake to the cultivation of self-realization. Activities of the introspective Sage, or thoughtful man, are night for persons materially absorbed. Materialistic persons remain asleep and it’s like a night due to their ignorance of the Self (Atma). The introspective Sage remains alert in the “night” of the materialistic men. The Sage feels transcendental pleasure in the gradual advancement of spiritual awareness, whereas the man in materialistic activities, being asleep to self-realization, dreams of varieties of sense pleasure, feeling sometimes happy and sometimes distressed in this ignoramus condition. They see nothing except what they can experience with their senses. This is due to being captivated by their senses and unable to concentrate their mind in meditation. The introspective man is always indifferent to materialistic happiness and distress. He goes on with his self-realization activities undisturbed by material reaction.

One situated in transcendent meditation has no connections to their senses whatsoever; but such a being cannot be perceived. As the functions of the senses such as seeing, hearing, and tasting of an ordinary person are the exact same to one situated in transcendent meditation, How is it possible to properly understand what this means?

Here Lord Krishna indicates that the operation of the senses to one situated in transcendent mediation are completely different from an ordinary being. This is because those whose minds are inclined towards sense objects are unqualified to realise the soul, their intellect is likened to the darkness of night. Whereas the self-restrained living entities with their sense organs fully controlled remains awake and realises the essence of the eternal soul and realises the eternal truths of the Vedic scriptures.

2.70     Shloka 2.70

आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत्।
तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे शान्तिमाप्नोति कामकामी।।2.70।।

Apuryamanam acala-pratistham samudram apah pravisanti yadvat     |
Tadvat kama yam pravisanti sarve sa santim apnoti na kama-kami ||2.70||
Meaning: That Sage achieves peace who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires and sense objects— like the rivers entering into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still, and not the man who strives to satisfy such incessant desires.

The Ocean is full unto itself and always maintains the same form even though countless rivers enter into it. Whether the rivers enter or do not enter, the ocean is unaffected. Similarly when a person is in transcendent meditation and comes in contact with sense objects, such a person remains peaceful and maintains an equipoise state of consciousness. Bhagavan Krishna says that this state can never be attained by one who is a ‘kamakami’ full of desires or is controlled by the senses, for such a being can never achieve peace.

All desires are not contrary to liberation nor are all desires opposed to liberation. In the absence of desires, it is not possible to live a normal life. Although they may be experienced, they are not powerful enough to generate any change or deviation internally. Thus such a person who has attained peace in the form of liberation from extreme joy as well as misery because the actions that cause of all types of miseries are terminated but the devotedness to the Supreme does not deviate and does not terminate.

Contrarily one who hankers after sensual enjoyments can never find peace and incessantly revolves in the material existence buffeted hither and thither by the negative and positive reactions of their own desires.

2.71     Shloka 2.71

विहाय कामान्यः सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति निःस्पृहः।
निर्ममो निरहंकारः शांतिमधिगच्छति।।2.71।।

Vihaya kaman yah sarvan pumams carati nihsprhah      |
Nirmamo nirahankarah sa santim adhigacchati         ||2.71||
Meaning: Whosoever has given up all material desires for sense gratification, lives free from attachment, false ego and sense of proprietorship; that person attains peace.

In answer to the question, Who is qualified for this yoga which bestows such a great reward? Lord Krishna states ‘yah vihaya’ meaning whomsoever is able to renounce desires. The use of the pronoun ‘yah’ is to emphasise that there are no restrictions of class, gender, age, caste, education etc. for engaging in this process of self-realisation which is preceded by abandoning attachment to all sense objects. Abandoning fully all desires for sense gratification, free from attachment and hence free from egoism, devoid of doer-ship and ownership.

Due to the firm knowledge about the eternal soul being distinctly different from all of these material designations, wherever and whatever such a one engages themselves they are always situated in a state of perfect peace.

The living entity cannot be desireless or bereft of the senses, but he does have to change the quality of the desires. A person with no material desires certainly knows that everything belongs to Bhagavan (isavasyam idam sarvam), and therefore he does not falsely claim proprietorship over anything. This transcendental knowledge is based on self-realization—namely, knowing perfectly well that every living entity is the eternal part and parcel of the Supreme in spiritual identity. Rejecting egotism in all its forms is understood to be under the control of the Supreme Lord Krishna. This is the goal to fully strive for.

2.72     Shloka 2.72

एषा ब्राह्मी स्थितिः पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति।
स्थित्वाऽस्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति।।2.72।।

Esa brahmi sthitih partha nainam prapya vimuhyati       |
Sthitvasyam anta-kale ‘pi brahma-nirvanam rcchati ||2.72||
Meaning: O’ Partha, having gained the realisation of the Ultimate Truth, one is never again deluded and even at the moment of death, being situated in this state, liberation from the material existence and attainment of the Ultimate Consciousness is assured.

Nirvana means ending the process of materialistic life.  And ‘brahmi-sthitih’ is liberation from material bondage. Brahman is just the opposite of matter and therefore, brahmi sthitih means “not on the platform of material activities.”

If one is a ‘sthitha-prajna’ and is devoted to the Lord, he at once attains the stage of Brahma-nirvana. There is no difference between the kingdom of God and the devotional service of the Lord.

Lord Krishna extolling the virtues of the process of spiritual knowledge concludes Chapter two with this verse enunciating the performance of actions by being unattached to their rewards. This state of consciousness leads to self-realisation and ‘brahmi’, the ultimate truth. Having achieved this one never again deluded by the material energy.

When one becomes established in this state, even at the last moment when death comes they achieve the eternal spiritual attainment.

Lord Krishna concludes chapter two by revealing the state of consciousness achieved by one who performs all actions unattached and equipoised based on knowledge of the eternal nature of the immortal soul. This process has for its goal the attainment of transcendent meditation. It is ‘brahmi’ or that which leads to Brahman, the ultimate truth.

 

Thus, the following doctrine is to be understood from Chapter 2:

  1. That the immortal soul is eternal (‘na hanyate hanya mane sharire’ – 2.20)
  2. All activities should be performed as a matter of duty devoid of desire for reward (2.47)
  3. There should be no proprietorship or doer-ship (2.47)
  4. Engage in devotional service – (yogah karmasu kausalam – 2.50)
  5. One should control their mind which will result in control of the senses (2.58);
  6. One should perform actions without attachment or aversion (2.64)
  7. One should be equipoised (2.68)
  8. Constantly contemplate and engage in meditating on the Lord (2.70)
  9. One who is spiritually intelligent of illuminated consciousness understands that through either jnana-yoga or karma-yoga, the goal of transcendent meditation can be attained but devotion to the Supreme is essential for realisation of the Supreme. (2.71)

Liberation from the material existence and realisation of eternal bliss (sat chit Ananda) can be achieved through the above process. In essence this results in relinquishment of both the physical body and the subtle body, after which one becomes qualified to realise their spiritual body and experience the sublime bliss of uninterrupted devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna.

  • The primary way of attaining God realisation is certainly pure devotion unto God, whereas self-realisation or soul-cognition, although extremely exalted, is secondary. Devotion to GOD is primary ‘means’ (Upaya) as well as the ‘goal’ (Upeya) to be attained.
  • Through the process of intense devotion one becomes relieved from all unhappiness and free from attachment. Over time they gain spiritual intelligence and become completely equipoised in transcendent meditation attaining the bliss of the Supreme.

These spiritual truths have been revealed in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita for curing ignorance and dispelling delusion.

Aum Tat Sat iti Srimad Bhagavad Gitasu upanishadsu brahmavidyayam yoga shastre Shri Krishna Arjuna samvaade Sankhya Yogo Nama dvitiyo adhyayah|  

जय श्री कृष्णा – Jai Shri Krishna!

Hari Aum Tat Sat

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